According to Christopher Moxon, Antoon Schneider, and Philippe Morel from BCG, the UK's vote to exit the European Union is already leaving a mark on the country’s economic landscape. They believe that while the full timing and extent of the break are uncertain and may not be known for several months, many British companies are starting to reassess aspects of their business. Therefore, private equity firms will have to step up their due diligence and accept additional risk in UK investments. But the breakup also offers an opportunity for PE firms that have honed their capabilities in helping companies deal with change.
The company is certain PE firms have notable advantages over corporate acquirers and IPOs during periods of change since they combine abundant capital with a sense of urgency, yet their longer investment horizons allow them to acquire companies in uncertain times. "Whether the goal is operational efficiency, investment for growth, bolt-on acquisitions, or spinoffs, companies can generally move more aggressively under private equity than under corporate or independent ownership."
Among sectors likely to be hit by Brexit, they identified four of particular interest to PE firms, as well as several secondary sectors. They chose them mostly because they think they present the greatest opportunities, but also because they illustrate the advantages that PE firms have in competing for these assets, especially in the short term. Most promising are companies that depend heavily on EU trade, workforces, or regulations.
For the BCG team Industrial Distribution, Private Medical Clinics and Laboratories, Aerospace Manufacturing, and Employment and Recruitment Services, will face substantial risks at this time of uncertainty and volatility. But PE firms, especially those focused on adding value to opera- tions, are well placed to help them succeed.
Other sectors of interest include Nonfood Retail, Agricultural Suppliers, Specialty Chemicals and Asset Management.
Regarding AM they mention that like other areas of financial services, "this sector could be hit hard by companies shifting activity from London to elsewhere in Europe. It was already slowing down before Brexit, and now many banks are withdrawing from the market. But with the Bank of England keeping interest rates around zero, investors will continue to seek asset managers that can offer higher returns. PE’s best opportunity here may be with niche asset management companies."
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